The anointed successor to his father, Kim Jong Un, wearing a black tunic suit, was flanked by senior North Korean leaders and top military and ruling Workers' Party officials, according to a photo released by the official Korean Central News Agency.
The North Korean propaganda machine sought to assert Kim Jong Un's inevitable ascension to lead the Communist government. The government's official news service issued dispatches quoting people swearing fealty to the late leader's youngest son, who before last year was hardly known to the North Korean public.
"We will absolutely entrust our destiny to General Kim Jong Un," Pak Song Chol, a 45-year-old factory manager, was quoted as saying by the Korean Central News Agency.
Kim Jong Un, still in his 20s, has before him what seems an impossible task -– rescuing a failed state, and perpetuating the family dynasty into a third generation.
As late as 2010, Kim Jong Un was so protected from scrutiny that very few knew exactly what he looked like, having only seen a long-ago snapshot of a smiling boy with bright eyes, reportedly taken at a European boarding school.
During that period South Korean and Japanese media desperately sought a photo of him. Kim was considered so intangible that he sometimes seemed like a phantom. North Koreans who knew of his existence dared not mention his name.